Thursday, September 19, 2013
Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen
I must admit that I've never watched an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race.
Nope. Not even one. In fact, I can only bring up the haziest of mental images when I try to picture what RuPaul even looks like. I'm sure a lot of people are thinking, I don't watch that either. Who cares? But I've found that in the gay community this statement is met with jaw drops. Drag queens are a big deal. When we went to the Utah Pride Festival in Salt Lake City this past June, lots of our friends kept name-dropping drag queens from the show left and right and oohing and ahhing as if they had announced that Lady Gaga herself would be performing at Pride. But to me those names meant nothing.
And yet, I suddenly find myself Facebook friends with a handful of local queens. What's more, I spent five hours on a Sunday night shepherding queens from a dressing room down to the stage, zipping up gowns, clasping bracelets, running up and down stairs, encouraging and reassuring and smiling all the while. I felt like a wide-eyed schoolboy being thrust into a whole new world of wigs and tucks and heels... God, those heels.
Sunday the 15th was Provo Pride's first-annual Righteous Miss Provo Pageant. My friend David, a.k.a. Cherri Bombb, worked tirelessly to put it all together and I was more than happy to help out "wrangling queens" as he put it. And although I was exhausted by the end of the night, it really felt great to be a part of it all. Many of the contestants had never done drag before. And you know what? They rocked it.
One of these first-timers, Linnox Green, said afterwards, "For once, I didn't have to put up a masculine facade, I could let my guard down and be who I am. In Linnox, I had a sense of pride and self love that I find hard to feel other times, especially since I go to BYU. In many ways, it was a rebirth for me..."
So while I might not identify as personally to the drag scene as those who perform it, I can identify with their desire to express themselves as they wish, to be who they are and to do it without judgment. That I can understand. Living life outside the social norm takes a lot of bravery. Hold your head up high, girls. Chin up and boobs out. We got this.